Posted by: William | January 31, 2008

Preacher’s Calling

I noted something interesting while reading in Colossians along with a commentary by R.C. Lucas.

“(3) At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison (4) that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. (5) Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. (6) Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

 

Paul here gives departing remarks to the church at Colossae. Our first two verses Paul makes requests of the Colossians that they would pray for him and his fellow workers opportunities to ‘declare’ the Gospel; that when they do, they will do so properly. Then, in the next two verses Paul moves on to discussing the responsibility of the Colossians; wisdom towards outsiders, using time wisely, gracious and salty speech, so that they will know how they are supposed to answer each person.

It appears that Paul would view his responsibility as aggressive while viewing the Colossian’s responsibility as passive. Paul, an apostle and preacher, is to ‘declare’ while the Colossian’s are to ‘answer.’ It seems, according to this here, a clear delineation between responsibility of the one called to preach and those not called to preach.

This is up for debate, however, I fear that the church has made an error in teaching that all believers are to ‘preach’ the Gospel. I think that I disagree with this. All believers are called to live godly lives of pure and utter devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ—in absolutely whatever that means; for some it will certainly be to preach, but for others I can easily see that it would be far more passive. Yet the holy lives of true Christians will be pervasive on the consciences of nonbelievers and it surely inspire questions for which we must always be prepared with an answer (1 Peter 3:15).

If the church has been exhorting all believers to ‘preach’ the Gospel it is likely she has told countless people to do what they are not called to do, leaving many in discouragement. In addition to that it’s likely that many potential relationships that could lead to holy conviction are stifled and cut short by a believer trying to operate outside of their gifting and calling.

Jesus, lead us humbly to truth. Give us grace to walk carefully and faithfully after you. Jesus, I pray that you would help us to understand, believe and apply your word to our lives, bearing good fruit for the glory of your name.

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Responses

  1. Hello,
    I love your site. Stop by mine. http://all4jesus.wordpress.com/

  2. Cool blog. On a deeper note, (lol) I agree with you that not all are called to preach. I’d support that with scripture but I dont have the time to do that right now. I do however believe that all Christians are called to proclaim the gospel, and that can look different with each case. Therefore the burden now rests on what it means to Preach. What is the specific calling of a preacher? Will you post on that next Bill? huh? huh? huh?

  3. interesting. why did my name come out as concerned saint above? hmmmmm?

  4. I’m not sure if we should call evangelizing and/or proselytizing preaching. I think evangelizing and preaching are indeed 2 gifts. Proselytizing is an activity of some churches that does appear to meld the 2 and try to train everyone to perform this activity. This approach I agree (assuming we’re talking about the same thing now) is non-biblical and more accurately, sin.

    I don’t put Preaching the Gospel under the evangelizing category or vise versa. For example, Paul preaches the gospel in his letters to the church.

  5. I agree with Concerned Saint/Stephen where the key here is what does it mean to preach? Or more simply, what does the word ‘preach’ mean?

    Ironically, I was just doing a mini-word study on preach/preacher yesterday (ooooooohhhhh). The first thing I discovered is that no one in the Bible is called ‘preacher’ – all references are to the word ‘preach’. There are a coupe Greek words used in the NT – and they all seem to mean ‘proclaim’ or ‘represent’. One word, in context, meant ‘ambassador’. In this sense, we are all called to represent and proclaim the Gospel – the Good News of God through Jesus the Christ. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

    1 Corinthians 12 speaks to the variety of Spiritual gifts that we have as Believers. It is apparent here that we don’t all have all the gifts, nor should we attempt to do something we are not called/gifted to do. I think this is the heart of what you are discovering in your study of scripture.

    That said, I would echo that we are all called to proclaim/represent/be an ambassador of the good news – the Gospel of Jesus the Christ. Simply put, I see this as being out ‘in the world’ encountering people, getting to know them, listening to and meeting their needs, and otherwise living out the Gospel – that is being Jesus – for them. We are all called to do this – we are all commanded to do this.

    Discouragement comes when we look for results, e.g. “I did such and such for so and so, but they didn’t respond to the Gospel and say the sinners prayer.” This is not our problem or responsibility; our duty is to be obedient to God’s calling in our lives and to do what we are asked to do. There can be no discouragement in simple obedience to God’s call.

    B

  6. I think when I use the word ‘preach,’ I mean the aggressive act of creating circumstances for unbelievers to hear the Gospel.

  7. You did use quotation marks, didn’t you. I should have picked up on that… before firing my “laser”

  8. Then I would caution you to not assign your own meaning to words, but stick to the actual [read: traditional/classical/dictionary] meaning. Certainly there is a place for discussing what a word or term means – and I don’t discourage that.

    Whether you assign your own meaning or not – be crystal clear what you are meaning/intending when you use a word or phrase. Do not assume that your audience has the same meaning in mind.

    Of course, you can follow this advice and people will still misunderstand your meaning and/or intent. In that case, consider it all joy…

    Keep digging!

    B

  9. My previous comments were more about ‘form’ than ‘content’. So, I’d like to respond to your content now.

    I don’t think I’ve ever thought of the word ‘aggressive’ with regard to preaching. By the same token, I’m not sure I would agree with using the word ‘passive’ to describe the role of “the rest of us.” Aggressive behavior of any sort in this society tends to carry a negative connotation, while passive behavior also carries a somewhat negative connotation. I’m going to reflect on this more and if I come up with anything I’ll get back to you.

    [I know I prefer passive-aggressive, but I’m not sure that’s Godly.]

    I agree that the modern church has made many grievous errors – but I don’t think telling all to preach the Gospel would even be in my top ten list. (I’m not sure I agree with the assertion itself that the church does in fact urge all believers to ‘preach’ the Gospel – esp. if that means some form of aggressive (maybe you mean active or deliberate?) behavior.

    Here’s what dictionary.com (the thesaurus section) provides for aggressive:

    Definition: belligerent
    Synonyms: advancing, antipathetic, assailing, attacking, barbaric, bellicose, combative, contentious, destructive, disruptive, disturbing, encroaching, hawkish, hostile, intruding, intrusive, invading, martial, offensive, pugnacious, quarrelsome, rapacious, threatening, warlike

    I don’t like those terms at all, really. I’m not sure how you derive ‘aggressive’ from Paul praying that God would open a door…seems pretty passive to me.

    Please expound.

    B

  10. I think that the door that Paul was talking about was likely in terms of his imprisonment. His realm of contact would have been very limited. I imagine the asking for an open door would be not in personal contact with others, but in a broader realm.

    I think that when it comes to the apostle’s ministry it makes sense to use the word aggressive because there wasn’t any kind of timidity. There was something of an offensive mounted against unbelief. It wasn’t an aggression toward people, but toward unbelief, in hopes that people would come to Christ. For the apostles, there would have been great intention to be sure to always speak the Gospel. For the ‘rest of us’ perhaps it should be more ‘passive’ in the sense that our obligation isn’t to make chances to speak the gospel to people, and we should always feel under the obligation to do so, but rather to live our lives rightly and answer the opportunities as they are provided.

  11. Brother William Branham tells us what word to call
    preachers. There are right and wrong wrds to use. What are they


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